Arthur Murray History

Early Life

Early 1900s

Young Arthur Murray 1905

Young Arthur Murray circa 1905

Arthur Murray started teaching dance in 1912 at the Grand Palace in NYC.

1915 Dancing at the Castle House

At Castle House, Arthur learned the famous Castle Walk and Tango.

Dancing at Castle House 1915

Social Dancing


How to Become a Good Dancer

Below: 1925-1929

A pioneer of social dancing, Arthur’s early success was due in part to his involvement in the American social dance scene.

Modern Dances by Arthur Murray
Social Dancing by Arthur Murray
Ballroom Dancing by Arthur Murray

Ballroom Dancing by Arthur Murray

Beyond radio and personal dance lessons, Arthur Murray wrote several books and brochures to promote the social aspects of dance.

Stepping Forward


Summer, 1914

The Baroness De Kuttleston, whom Mr. Murray had met at Castle House, asked if he would be her teaching partner.


By 1919, Arthur Murray was teaching dance in his spare time.

He soon had over a thousand children of different age groups enrolled in his classes.

Group of Dancers

The Murray dance classes soon attracted many adults.

March 27, 1920

He arranged to have music transmitted to a group of his students, which was the world’s first radio broadcast of live dance music.


The famous footprints that became an Arthur Murray trademark.

Signature Dance Steps
Arthur Murray with Anita Stewart


Arthur with movie star Anita Stewart performing the “Hesitation Waltz.”

A Lifetime

Kathryn & Arthur

Early 1920s

Kathryn and Arthur met in a radio station in New Jersey during one of his broadcast dance lessons where she was an audience member.

Arthur and Kathryn

April 24, 1925

Arthur and Kathryn were married on April 24, 1925, and opened a dance school together.

Arthur’s family

Family Portrait: The Murrays and Mrs. Lenore Kohnfelder, Kathryn’s mother.

Arthur Murray Family Portrait


Stepping Forward

1930s Revolution

1930s Revolution

During the 1930s, the studio introduced such dances to the public as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple.

1930s Revolution

It was the Big Apple that turned Mr. Murray’s one studio into the largest chain of dance studios in the world today.


Arthur with movie star Jan Wyman performing the Lambeth Walk.

Arthur Murray with Jan Wyman

Creating an Empire

Early 1940s


In 1938, the first official opening of a franchised school occurred.

By 1946

When Arthur incorporated, there were 72 franchised studios grossing nearly twenty million dollars a year.

Arthur Murray Franchised Studio

Original Studio

The original studio in Miami Beach, Florida.

Arthur Murray Original Miami Studio


The Arthur Murray Party

July of 1950

Arthur bought five fifteen-minute television spots on CBS and persuaded Kathryn to teach on TV.

Arthur Murray CBS Spot

Dancing onto TV

The Arthur Murray Party was a TV show that ran from 1950-1962, hosted by Arthur and Kathryn Murray.

Arthur Murray Party Dancers
Arthur Murray Party Arthur
Groucho Marx with Kathryn Murray

Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx with Kathryn at the Arthur Murray Party.

Bob Hope

Poster for “A Toast to Bob Hope” on the Arthur Murray Party.

Toast to Bob Hope

Taking a Bow



Two years after the TV show ended, Arthur and Kathryn retired and sold the company to a group of business associates and a new era began.

Taking a Bow
Passing of a Star

Passing of a star

Arthur passed away on March 3rd, 1991.

Passing of the Baton


Renewed in 1964

A renewed Arthur Murray system took shape in 1964 when a group of Arthur Murray associates and franchisees took the helm.

Under the leadership of Philip S. Masters, George B. Theiss and Samuel A. Costello, the company began to re-invent itself.

New leadership

Chairman Phil Masters with Jerry Lewis at the MDA Telethon.

Phil Masters
Arthur Murray Disco


The advent of disco helped make dance contests and Arthur Murray Studios popular all over again.

Arthur Murray International

Dancing Overseas


Over the past 20 years, Arthur Murray has become a truly global enterprise.

Arthur Murray Middle East
Arthur Murray Overseas
Arthur Murray Japan

Present Day


2012: 100 years of dance

As we celebrate 100 years of teaching the world to dance, today there are over 260 Arthur Murray Dance Studios in 21 countries across the globe.

Our longevity is a result of excellent customer service, unparalleled social dance instruction techniques and experienced corporate management that carries on the tradition of excellence started by Arthur himself in 1912.

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